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Content Any Way U Want It!

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September 21, 2023

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Home field advantage crucial in sports, especially soccer

In sports, there is nothing more arbitrary, yet effective than home field advantage.

Regardless of either team’s talent, where the game is held always seems to make some sort of difference. There is no other sport where this is more relevant than soccer.

I know, this is America. Soccer is a forethought behind first-, second- and third-thought. However, when the United States national team welcomed Costa Rica for a World Cup Qualifier, the advantage was actually considered too great.

In many countries, visiting fans don’t just sit in different sections, they are literally fenced off with riot-guards to separate hooligans. This isn’t seen here in the States as soccer isn’t as much of a livelihood.

A game that is so simple, where all is required is a ball and any two objects you can find to mark off goal posts, is played professionally in every country on the planet. That isn’t an exaggeration – it is literally played in every nation, every nation-state and every state despite first-world or third-world status. The Vatican even fields a team despite having just one permanent resident.

What I am trying to say is that soccer is that one sport that where your play really can affect an outcome. Whether it’s Iceland or the Sahara, from the rainy fields of Scotland to the permafrost of Greenland, players must be used to any environment.

Apparently Costa Rica didn’t understand this memo. The other day, the Central American nation requested FIFA to repeal the United States’ 1-0 victory and to force the game to be replayed.

The game in question was played in nearly blizzard conditions which resulted in a slow-paced game. The game was called to a halt in the 55th minute to discuss whether or not to call the game. The captains elected to finish the game.

I have watched a lot of soccer games and I have played in many more and I have never, ever seen a game stopped. I have played in six inches of snow as well as puddles of water, and despite the messy play, the game always goes on.

It is a purist mentality that hasn’t changed in forever. FIFA has the smallest rule book of any sport and the clock is never stopped regardless of play. This has angered many-a-player, yet this is the game we grew up on.

So when Costa Rica felt that snow was crippling them with a loss, FIFA dismissed the claim. In a round-a-bout way, Costa Rica was told to deal with it.

The United States never complains when it has to play Mexico in Azteca – the one stadium revered as possessing the greatest home-field advantage of any team in any sport. Mexico simply doesn’t lose at home, and certainly not to the United States. It took the United States 99 years to gather a win in Azteca.

By the time you will be reading this the United States will have played Mexico in Azteca on Tuesday night. I cannot predict the score, but what I can say is that the few American fans that make the brave trip will sit in the upper decks secluded from the rest of the El Tri supporters.

Azteca is widely known for holding over 100,000 fans that use laser pointers to distract keepers, foil to reflect sunlight, smoke, streamers and even thrown bags of excrement. I’m serious.

I saw the United States play Mexico in Columbus in 2008 and I witnessed a tequila bottle thrown at Landon Donovan as he prepared to take a corner kick.

Despite all this, the United States has never asked FIFA to replay a game. It isn’t “soccer” to do so – and that isn’t crazy or abnormal to soccer purists, this is our normal.

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